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Posted by Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah
Featured at: http://www.saifuddinabdullah.com.my
Date: November 14, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR: University students should be allowed to join political parties or campaign once they are out of campus, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said.
He said the laws should be amended to allow them to do so.
“If they are of voting age, why can’t they go out to campaign and support the party of their choice? That is ridiculous,” he said in an interview.
He was commenting on the involvement of university students in politics and the four UKM students charged under the UniÂ versities and University Colleges Act for allegedly taking part in the Hulu Selangor by-election and the imminent action against students who purportedly campaigned in the recent Galas by-election.
Nazri said that although the students might have contravened the Act, it was wrong to take action against them as they were 21-years-old and the incident occurred outside campus.
“What are you going to do with them if they passed their exams? Hold back their scrolls?,” he asked.
Nazri said students should be allowed some freedom to develop their minds and universities should treat it as a development process rather than an offence.
He believed it was normal for youths to have a rebellious streak and be critical of the Government.
“From the Government’s point of view, there is nothing to fear. Look at people like (Datuk Seri) Ahmad Shabery (Cheek).
“He was a student leader and very critical of the Government but he is a responsible minister now. When I was a student in Britain, I too was very critical of the Government.”
According to Nazri, students did not rise up just because they were rebellious.
“There is always a reason for it and we must look at their action positively rather than label them as â€˜anti-establishment’ and punish them. That will stifle their thinking,” he said.
But within the campus, he said, politics should be a strict no-no.
He said taxpayers’ money was spent to subsidise education for the students at local universities and that money should be well spent.
“As a student, your main responsibility is to yourself first.
“If you don’t study (because you are busy fighting for the people) and fail, that means you have wasted the money of the rakyat,” he said.
This House Believes That University Students Should Be Allowed To Be Actively Involved In Party Politics.